When a rogue wave strips Tess Dunn of her bikini top, desperate, half-naked times call for desperate, please-cover-me-kids-are-coming-closer measures. Enter Lucas Karlsson, AKA that flirty Swede in the water nearby. When he prevents her bare buoys from being exposed to fellow vacationers, even an ocean can’t drown the sparks that fly.
Lucas, a former top-level tennis pro now giving lessons at the resort, fled there after the abrupt, painful end to his injury-plagued career. But he’s finally ready to move on with his life—and after a few late-night, hands-on sessions with Tess, he’s eager to prove he’s the ace she wants.
But this match comes with challenges: She’s forty, and at twenty-six, he’s barely old enough to rent a car. Worse, they only have two weeks together before Tess returns to her assistant-principal life in Virginia. During that brief time, they’ll have to play hard, take a few risks, and find out whether their chemistry is a one-shot wonder…or whether they’re meant to be doubles partners for life.
Olivia Dade grew up an undeniable nerd, prone to ignoring the world around her as she read any book she could find. Her favorites, though, were always, always romances. As an adult, she earned an M.A. in American history and worked in a variety of jobs that required the donning of actual pants: Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, high school teacher, academic tutor, and (of course) librarian. Now, however, she has finally achieved her lifelong goal of wearing pajamas all day as a hermit-like writer and enthusiastic hag. She currently lives outside Stockholm with her delightful family and their ever-burgeoning collection of books.
If you want to find me online, here’s where to go!
this was sweet! i really liked this and how the author navigated the age gap relationship. i think olivia dade does a really good job with articulating character emotions and building healthy foundations for romance.
only complaint was the lack of depth. there were certainly layers to the romance here but the story itself was kind of bland? that feels contradictory to say given my previous praise but there was no real conflict here and it's hard to become completely invested in a vacation- fling style setting idk.
I hate to say this because I really thought I was going to love it, but this didn't work for me. Something about the way their relationship was written felt forced to me and I am SAD. I'm still going to read more from Olivia Dade in the future because I loved Spoiler Alert, but unfortunately this was not my favorite. Womp.
Swoony. Hot. Endearing. This is my first book by Olivia Dade, but it won’t be my last.
This is my kind of romance—real bodies, crystal clear consent, playfulness, intimacy, and frank conversation. I found 40-Love delightfully refreshing and had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time.
This book did so much so well: as I’ve mentioned above, it wrote intimate communication and physicality so well, and overall it also did a lovely job of building three dimensional people. I also loved Tess’s body positivity and confidence. It felt healthy and mature, and I’m here for that!
If you’re looking for a body-positive age gap romance with a destination setting and lots of swoony heat, 40-Love is the book for you.
This was a fun romance! Tess is a school administrator on vacation with her best friend. But when a mishap with her bathing suit top happens in the ocean, the hot, young tennis coach is the only one to save her. They immediately have sparks, but Tess thinks he's too young and immature for a relationship. But Lucas is determined to show her he's serious and really into her, so they spend more time together. This was a cute and fun read! Don't go into this thinking you'll find the next amazing romance; it's just a fun summer romance that I had a fun time reading! I loved the time Tess and Lucas spent together and how Tess slowly learned to lower her walls around him. And the ending was so cute! I'm glad I picked this one up.
I was excited for 40-Love as I’ve enjoyed Dade’s other books I’ve read lately. I really loved the hero and I thought the ending was great, but something was just missing for me with this one. I’m not sure that I liked the heroine much and the connection between the main characters didn’t seem to be there for me. Overall it was good, but missed that ‘great’ mark.
Imagine the most embarrassing moment of your life turning into the sweetest meetcute. Assistant Principal Tess Dunn only wanted to go for an early swim when she lost her bikini top. Moments later she can hear the approach of children so she beseeches the help of a young man strolling past, Lucas.
Her first impression of Lucas is that he’s too flirty, too cocky and way too young for her. She doubts she’ll ever see him again but her matchmaking bestie has other plans.
She soon finds herself being instructed by a once grand slam champion tennis pro. That’s right, it’s Lucas.
This was at times tumultuous and angsty but for the most part, it was one adorable and/or steamy moment after another. There’s definitely something to be said about hooking up with a man 14 years her junior.
Holy smokes! After Teach Me I wasn’t prepared for how steamy this would be. Where the heck can I find Lucas? Does he have a brother? Seriously!
At times Tess frustrated me to no end but thank God Lucas saw through everything. She may be pragmatic but he didn’t have his head in the clouds no matter how many years separated them.
This was another adorably sweet story from this author. She has been an incredible find and I look forward to getting sucked into more.
40-Love by Olivia Dade has my whole heart. From the moment Tess's naked breasts squashed against Lucas's bare back and the joke's started flying, I fell in love. So absolutely sexy and tender and a perfect example of what I need in romance right now.
Tess Dunn cannot believe a 26-year-old former tennis pro was ACTUALLY flirting with during her bare-breasted rescue, but after her best friend and travel partner books her solo lessons with the smokin' hot Swede, Tess soon finds out Lucas Karlsson is definitely interested in more than her tennis serve.
With less than two weeks before Tess returns to her high pressure and high stress job as an assistant principal, Lucas is intent on showing Tess he's in this not just for the grand slams but forever.
Dade never disappoints with the care she gives her characters AND her readers. Watching Lucas show up again and again for Tess was absolutely delicious and important to see. Tess is my favorite type of romance love interest, confident in herself yet vulnerable to past hurts, but never willing to compromise her core beliefs. Also, the time Dade takes to show Tess's relationship with her friend was lovely, and I hope her travel companion gets her own story!
Absolute must read of Summer 2020, get your copy pre-ordered now!
Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. I am buddies with Olivia on Twitter.
I'm new to Olivia Dade's books, I've had the pleasure to read her upcoming "Spoiler Alert" recently and absolutely adored it (releases October 6th), thought I'd try her most recent release and continue what I was hoping would become her backlist binge. Unfortunately for everything the blurb lured me in with, the story failed to keep my interest. I was bored. There is no other way to put it. Took me days and some skimming to make it to 70%.
No connection to neither the heroine or hero. Not receptive about the source of conflict between the heroes. But more than that, absolute dearth of chemistry! I mean, yes there was a good deal of sex on the pages but it all felt so... academic? Dare I say pedantic? I figured at one point it was on brand with the heroine's fixation to make it principal next year... Sigh. Whatever the case if was anything but sexy, emotional or enticing and the amount of sweat mentioned in the book didn't help.
As mentioned above what drew me to this title, the age gap between an older woman and younger guy, didn't impress me but I appreciated Tess's characterization and the fat positive message. I can't say much about the hero, he didn't leave much of an impression on me? *shrugs* The banter kept me entertained, Dade definitely has a knack with snarky, goofy word play, the meet-cute scene at the beginning was great, sadly it all unraveled from here on out for me.
I'll definitely read more from the author though, I LOVED "Spoiler Alert" and I'm still curious about many of her titles.
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This has very mixed reviews and luckily the story was enjoyable for me. And not only because the love interest was from Sweden. It was easy getting invested to and a bit funny at time but there was also parts I didn't enjoy as much. 3.5 rounded up
can't remember the last time i flew through a book quite so quickly. nor can i remember the last time i said "just one more chapter" quite so often. this was fast paced, utterly addictive, pure entertaining. a really, really great romance story. i was kept on my shoes from the first page until the last and loved every moment of it.
I have wanted a tennis romance for a while now. And although it isn't really a tennis romance (the hero is a former professional tennis player), it did give me some little things about the sport of tennis that I so enjoy reading. 40-Love is an upcoming romance that everyone should have in their lists. Not only because of that BEAUTIFUL cover but because of Tess and Lucas who are ready for you to meet them.
Tess is taking a vacation in this little secluded island with her best friend. There she meets cocky, annoying-at-first Lucas, a former tennis player who now teaches tennis in this resort. Their first meeting is epic: Tess loses her bikini and needs help before a group of teens catches this scene. She then places her breasts on this tol Swedish man so she can cover them and no one sees. These two had B A N T E R since the start and every single conversation they have will give you a laugh but also make you shed a tear because it's so very real, everything they feel and say. The romance is insta-love because it happens in two weeks but UFFF did I enjoy it. I love me some insta-love and 40-Love gave me all the feels instantly.
Adore *chef kiss* when authors write nice exes. We don't get enough, I'm sorry, I know it's such a little thing but if you read romance you know not many authors write great exes. (When she actually helps the hero gets heating pads for the heroine so she doesn't hurt from cramps!!)
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This is a completely not fair thing to be doing, but the only reason this is getting four stars instead of five is because I am thinking about it in relation to Teach Me, which is a perfect book that I connected with so deeply. Because this book? This book is excellent. The boob stuff made me feel so seen. The tennis stuff was amazing and the hero FELT like an athlete who hadn't ever known anything else and was having to figure out the rest of his life. (I did not realize the hero was supposed to be Swedish Delpo and I screamed once I figured it out.) As always with short time frame romances, I will wish we could have seen more of the actual coupling, particularly in this case since all we do see is them in paradise, despite the beautifully laid out plans for the future that the hero presents the heroine with. (I SWOONED.) In short, if you are not reading Olivia Dade, you are denying yourself a real joy and you should fix that.
Read for The Ripped Bodice Bingo 2020 square: Title is a pun
I preordered this book based on the description and ARC reviews only to be sorely disappointed.
I am so bored. This 42% has been a chore. Th heroine, Tess, is didactic, has weird ideas about being 40, is irrational and overly demanding of quick emotional intimacy. Poor Lucas. Moreover, in spite of dual points of view, we still don’t really see or get to know Lucas.
In addition to such, the other characters, the setting, the exposition, and the tension are all flat. There is no romance and nothing sexy here.
I feel like such a witch for not liking this book as much as I thought I would.
40 year old Tess is on holiday in Florida with her best friend, Bella. She has an awkward encounter with a young man called Lucas. Despite the chemistry between them, there is also a sizeable age gap so Tess thinks he's a no go area. But then Tess is gifted with tennis lessons for her birthday and her trainer turns out to be none other than Lucas. Sparks fly despite their differences. I did really like the relationship between Tess and Lucas from the differences that they acknowledged, accepted and then moved aside to the brilliant communication they had most of them time. I appreciated the character development and liked how Tess openly communicated to Lucas the ways she believed he could do more with his tennis skills in a way that wasn't patronising, condescending or borderline parenting. That said, I couldn’t relate to either character and didn’t really care if they worked out or not because I wasn’t invested in their relationship.
The third act was a little boring for me as nothing really exciting happens other than internal conflict. The story felt predictable and flat for me. The prose was excellent, Olivia Dade is a good author. The story just wasn’t for me. For this reason I scored the book 3/5 stars.
I adored this! Despite Tess frustrating me at times with her fixation on the age gap in the beginning, their first meeting was hilarious, and Lucas was such a cinnamon roll. I also loved when he finally called Tess out for keeping him at a distance, and how they both pushed each other to move outside their comfort zones. And those steamy scenes *fans self*
I am officially a big fan of Olivia Dade and am so excited for her next book!
Have you ever loved a book so much you wanted to shout that love from the rooftops? Make everyone you know read it? That’s how I felt the instant I finished 40-Love. Ok, let’s be honest, I felt that way about two chapters into the book and still feel the same days later. Why did it take me so long to pick up an Olivia Dade book? Big fail on my part, but at least I’ve learned my lesson and I can commence my backlist binge immediately.
What did I love about 40-Love? Literally everything. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s an age gap romance with a 40-year-old heroine (*praise*) and 26-year-old hero. The meet-cute in chapter one had me grinning, giggling and cringing. Is it possible to die of secondhand embarrassment? I honestly think I came close. I swear I read 3/4 of this book with a giant cheesy grin on my face. Unsurprising to anyone, I also cried a couple of times. Maybe most importantly to me, the fat rep was perfection. Tess is easily one of the most relatable heroines I’ve read in ages. Perhaps ever. I need more of this — you know, seeing myself in the books I’m reading. 40-Love was the total package.
Let me tell you about the girl crush I have on Tess. She knows who she is and what she wants (or at least she thought she did until she met Lucas). She exuded the confidence I wish I could have on a more consistent basis. I legit want her to be my best friend. Her inner dialogue was hilarious and quite often I found myself nodding along with her. I got her and I swear it was like she was in my head sometimes. And Lucas? He was the most perfectly imperfect hero, a total cinnamon roll. Did I side-eye him a little in the beginning? Sure, but it wasn’t long before he had me swooning all over the place. There were dozens of little moments where he did or said things that made me sigh with happiness. I adored him.
I could go on and on talking about just how much I loved this book, but I’ll spare you. Just trust me and go read it for yourself. You won’t be sorry. Then we can binge all the Olivia Dade books together. 😉
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Favorite Quotes: She could see the mugshot and local news headlines now: Buoys of Terror: Assistant Principal Dunn Corrupts Innocent Children with Her Enormous, Naked Gozangas.
God help her, but Lucas somehow unbalanced her, dizzied her until her tongue came untethered and said things—angry things, honest things, foolishly flirty things—a diplomatic, practical principal-to-be would never, ever say.
Somewhere in her late thirties, her supply of fucks had become extremely limited. Some might even say nonexistent, except when it came to her work and her friends.
“I may be too much woman for this shirt, but I consider that a flaw in its design, not mine.”
“How the hell can a twenty-six-year-old athlete be the perfect boyfriend for me? In what universe is that even possible?”
“The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the tides come and go, we’ll eventually grow old and die, and Lucas Karlsson loves Tess Dunn.”
This was perfect! That's not surprising because Olivia is a marvelous writer but this time she really outdid herself. So much laughing, so many feelings, so much swooning over Lucas and relating to Tess. I wish I had the same luck as Tess when I traveled. Minus the wardrobe malfunction, to be clear.
Tess is the same age as me (40) so I really enjoyed her and Lucas’s discussion of cultural touchstones. But I was on Lucas’s side because when it comes to dating someone younger than you, it really comes down to how much you’re aware of the age gap, more than what pop culture you have in common. Because Lucas was a professional tennis player, he came across as older than 26 and he was incredible emotionally mature. Plus, he did a great job of listening to Tess’s concerns and then figuring out how to respond to them in a way she could both understand and hear.
This story felt like a warm hug. If you love cinnamon roll heroes or soft stories, I highly recommend it. It's my new favorite book from Dade and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
CW: heroine’s ex cheated on her, heroine has arthritis in her neck from a car accident, knee pain, and lower back pain, hero has had wrist and knee surgeries, references to medical fat-shaming, skin sun damage, side character is fat-shamed
Disclosure: the author and I are friendly on Twitter.
It hurts me to say this because 40-Love is a beloved book within my reading circles; however, the story is overly obsessed over the age gap and the weight of the characters. There were moments of enjoyment only to be dampened by the obsession with the issues or random things that did not fit into the story.
Video review available in Week 27: Jul 4 – Jul 10, 2021, full weekly book reviews available on Steph's Romance Book Talk Patreon.
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Eh, well, the first 15% was good but by 19% I was bored and well, I just had no desire to finish this one, so...I'll definitely try Spoiler Alert when I get it from the library but this one, well, it just didn't work for me.
Nice fat and age-gap representation. The book also dealt quite well with Lucas' and Tess' physical health and well-being. Aside from that it didn't really click with me, I found neither story nor characters particularly interesting. Even though I share some major character traits and flaws with her, Tess didn't convince me at all. I will however for sure read more by Olivia Dade.
I recall telling some friends the other day that Olivia Dade's writing is like a warm cozy blanket on a cold rainy day. Her stories are beyond lovely and she has this way of making me not realize how much time has passed while I'm reading her books. Not only are her slew of new covers absolutely stunning - hello, I could stare at these covers forever - but her stories are equally charming. 40-Love is one of the best romance books I've read and I hope you will all give this fat and fabulous heroine and her younger cinnamon roll of a tennis player love interest a chance. You will not regret it!
Tess and her BFF, Belle, are on vacation when Tess and her naked boobies (all thanks to a rogue wave sweeping away her bikini top) have to be rescued by a hot and cocky resort tennis coach. Talk about a meet-cute. I tell you I was laughing my butt off so hard at this scene, I nearly fell off my bed. Olivia somehow made me cringe in second-hand embarrassment (being naked in public is my worst nightmare!), but also laugh along with Lucas as he teased Tess. It was really the perfect scene and set the tone for 40-Love: funny, banter-ific, and so swoony!
Olivia Dade's talents are in her characterizations. She brings her characters to life so much so that they leap off the pages. I adored Tess. She was a whole lot of fun, confident in who she was, and very driven. She was vying for a position as principal at her school back in Marysburg and was stressed about the whole thing. I loved her determination and how passionate she was wanting so much out of her career. Tess was genuinely likable and so thoughtful. She is a character that I could easily foresee myself being good friends with. She has that kind of positive energy to her that I think everyone deserves in a good friend!
Her sexy, younger, Swedish love interest, Lucas, was a total dreamboat! I loved him and I want a Lucas of my own. After his lucrative and up-and-coming career as a tennis player ended swiftly after a couple of injuries and surgeries, Lucas has made a life for himself as a tennis coach at the resort. He was so flirty and cocky he could charm anyone's pants off. He hides his vulnerabilities well but we see him open up gradually throughout the book. Despite being only 26, he wants more out of his life including a committed relationship. I knew I was going to love Lucas because Olivia Dade isn't capable of penning a terrible hero, but I didn't anticipate just how enamored I would be with him. If he were real, I would probably be making googly-eyes at him. 🥺😍
Tess and Lucas' romance was perfect for me. I love that with the vacation setting, it gave me all the summery romance feels. Despite the age-gap between them, they made for a very complementary couple because of their personalities clicking well together. There were so many moments throughout 40-Love that I had me sighing and swooning in happiness. I loved how committed Lucas was to Tess and how far he would go to convince her that they were meant to be together. There was one scene in particular when he went all out to ease Tess's period pains and I want to print out the scene and share it every cis man I meet! Tess was an equally amazing partner to Lucas and helped him see just how great of a guy he was. Yeah, these two were definitely OTP material.
Do yourself a favor and pick up 40-Love! It is so good, friends! I promise you won't be disappointed! I just want more and more of Olivia Dade's words!
What an absolute delight. You know those reads that make you smile when you see it pop up on your kindle and you can’t stop smiling all the way through? That’s this book.
Full disclosure - I’ve interacted with Olivia Dade on Twitter, and I have received ARCs from her in the past, but it in no way affects my review of her books. I bought this one with my own money, and I’m exceedingly happy I did it.
The quick sitch is this - Tess is on a birthday/vacation trip with her best friend, when she has a wardrobe malfunction involving her overflowing tatas and a misbehaving halter top bikini. When the (hot and younger) man on the beach helps a sister out as a human shield, flirting happens, but Tess doesn’t think anything will come of it. Then she goes for tennis lessons, and guess who’s there, ready and willing to teach her a thing or two about tennis...and about themselves? Lucas, the resort’s tennis instructor and resident sexy retired athlete, that’s who. Words are exchanged, walls come down, and eventually, yep, you guessed it, romance happens.
Tess and Lucas’ story hits all the sweet spots I love in romance - there’s heat, heart, and humor in spades, and the emotional character development is beautifully done. The story is told in third person (my fave) so I loved getting the full picture regarding their personal issues with a relationship, and I cannot stress this enough - LOVED that while Tess is a full-figured, beautiful woman and it is not hidden or minimized, her weight is not the epicenter of this romance. The issues they do have (Lucas adjusting to life after tennis and Tess learning that she can be open to love, and her concerns for the age difference between them), are believable and legitimate. I loved that both Tess and Lucas have some preconceived notions about each other, yet they have honest, emotionally charged conversations that really helped to build their relationship while showing the reader why these two are great together. I have a crush on both of them, and while this is the second book in a series, it is truly a standalone.
When all is said and done, the joy that I got from this read is irreplaceable in these trying times, and I know that Tess and Lucas will stay with me long after I shut down my kindle. If you’re looking for some sweet heat with a older woman-younger man/BBW/vacation tropes, you’ll love this too. I adored 40-Love and I do not hesitate in recommending it.
Tess is celebrating her upcoming 40th birthday by taking a tropical vacation with her best friend. When a rogue wave takes Tess’s bikini top, she enlists the help of a handsome stranger to help keep innocent children from seeing her rather large assets.
Lucas is the resort’s once-pro, tennis instructor. He lives life day-to-day, without much meaning. But after assisting Tess with her, um… problem in the waves, he can’t stop thinking about her. And since her best friend wants to play match-maker, Lucas is more than happy to give Tess private lessons in hopes she’ll want more from him.
40-Love is another darling romance from Olivia Dade. Although set in her There's Something About Marysburg world, it is an independent, standalone story. On the surface, Tess and Lucas look like opposites. She’s mature, set in her ways, working to earn the principle position at her school, and a work-a-holic. Lucas is young, fit, carefree, and a player. These apparent differences keep Tess from allowing her attraction to take root. She was hurt terribly by her ex, whom she found in bed with a much younger woman. Tess only sees heartache if she gets involved with Lucas.
After Tess makes some flippant remarks to Lucas about what she assumes his life to be, he sets her straight and they have a bit of a shouting match. But instead of giving up, both realize they were rash and work to move forward. They have bumps; however, their relationship has a chance and works because both characters are open and honest with one another. But beyond that, they are well-adjusted and able to learn and grow. They work though their issues with the ability of a trained psychologist. My only (very small) issue with the book is the early exit of Tess's best friend, Belle.
Overall, 40-Love is a cute, low conflict romance. Tess and Lucas work to unpack their baggage, learning and growing because they want their island fling to extend beyond the vacation.
My Rating: B, Liked It Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Wow! This book was so wonderful. I had no idea I needed it. I loved the literal 40 love. The heroine is turning 40. While she's on vacation, she has a ridiculously funny meet cute with a hot swedish tennis instructor. The amount of love that Olivia Dade gives to a plus size woman who is turning 40 is beyond delightful. Her description of gray hair creeping in on you is amazing. I could relate to this woman so much, which just made the story work for me.
Full disclosure: review is based on a free ARC that I was beyond ecstatic to read!